Thursday, September 28, 2023

Sag/Aftra still on Strike while Writer's Come to Agreements

The months-long Hollywood writers strike is over after the Writers Guild of America released the details of their Tentative Agreement with Hollywood studios. 


The agreement allowed writers to go back to work at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, September 27th, nearly 150-days after they walked off the job on May 2.

Meanwhile, as of September 28th, over at Sag/Aftra, the scheduled talks with the video game industry which began Tuesday, have ended with no agreement. With a sharpened joint statement tonight, the union and the videogame producers said: “SAG-AFTRA and video game employers concluded scheduled negotiations for the Interactive Media Agreement. No deal was reached and the current agreement will remain in effect while the parties make final efforts to reach a deal.”

Many of the issues involved in the union’s 11-week film and TV strike are common to those in the video game contract, including wages, streaming issues and artificial intelligence.
The news comes days after nearly 100% of SAG-AFTRA’s 160,000-strong membership voted unilaterally to authorize a strike against the major video game companies.  

As striking SAG-AFTRA returns to negotiations, Fran Drescher is in the lead role along with her right hand National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland.
From writers to auto workers, 2023 will be known as a pivotal year for labor, and no figure has been more prominent than Drescher. It’s getting close to three months since SAG-AFTRA announced the contract negotiations broke down with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and its entire membership went On-Strike. In the intervening weeks, Drescher, who has been serving as president of the union since September 2021, has been attending picket lines and cris-crossing the country for speaking events and interviews. 

Drescher with her team of negotiators are set to return to the bargaining table on October 2, almost 12 weeks since the strike began on July 13th. Expectations for what SAG-AFTRA will come away with are up there. The Writers Guild of America (WGA), which went on strike in May, just reached an agreement with a coalition of Hollywood’s biggest studios, streaming services, and production companies. The deal, which ends the WGA’s nearly 150-day-long walk out, notched significant wins for union members: compensation increases and minimum staffing requirements for writers rooms, better residual payments for streaming (and unprecedented transparency into streaming data) and protections against artificial intelligence being used to replace writers or being trained on their work.

More to follow for sure.

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